‘Don’t underestimate us:’ Students demand to be heard during walk-out

WORTHINGTON, OH (WCMH) – Thousands of students across Central Ohio marched out of their classrooms on Wednesday, demanding stricter gun laws.

Hundreds of students at Thomas Worthington High School also joined that national movement. Some of them expressed their views on gun reform in front of a huddled crowd of their peers. For many of those teens, it was the first time they spoke up and became politically active in a public way.

Some said they were afraid of backlash or criticism, but overcame those fears believing America’s youth should be heard.

“I can assure you that as students we will not rest until something is done,” said junior Gayathri Mudigonda. “Don’t underestimate us. We’re going to change something.”

Mudigonda said she was nervous about speaking out having never made a bold, political statement before.

“I’m tired of not being able to do anything,” she said. “I’m tired of just sitting at home saying, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m so sad. I wish I could do something. I just hope it doesn’t happen to me,’ and that’s just not good enough so, I need to do something.”

Along with her classmates they got a megaphone and demanded attention.

“Listen to us! Our intelligence as teenagers is highly underestimated and I think there’s a lot to learn from politically active students,” said junior Emma Weber.

Junior Nat Hickman said this movement isn’t only about gun violence awareness.

“It’s also about youth representation politically in the media, speaking for the parts that aren’t spoken for,” said Hickman. “I want people to know that they have a voice. I want younger kids to know that they have a voice. I want people to know that I have a voice.”

Junior Jon Tchounguen used his voice to write a poem through the perspective of a student gun violence victim.

“I’m sorry that you have to bury my remains today. I apologize that we never got to say goodbye, that you will never get to play with your grandchildren, that you’ll never hear me say, ‘I do,'” said Tchounguen. “But, no more mom and dad. Enough is enough. It ends now.”

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